Social media abuse 'typical' for teachers

PUBLISHED: 13:30 13 April 2015

Abuse on social media has been described as 'typical' for teachers.

Abuse on social media has been described as 'typical' for teachers.

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THE amount of online abuse teachers face from pupils is 'getting worse', with negative pictures of staff being published on social media sites and mobile phone apps.

Cruel comments via the likes of Facebook and Snapchat are now rated as ‘typical’ in most North Somerset schools, and could undermine teachers’ ability to do their jobs, it has been warned.

The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) surveyed 1,500 members and 60 per cent reported enduring negative social media comments, compared to 21 per cent in 2014.

NASUWT’s executive member for North Somerset, Wendy Exton, said: “It’s more common than you think. It often involves Facebook and derogative comments that are made.

“It’s fairly typical and I think it’s getting worse because more and more children are getting smartphones.

“Snapchat is another one that children often favour. They take a picture and put some sort of negative caption on it, then it goes around the whole school.”

The research says more than a third of teachers had experienced videos or photos being taken of them without their consent, while 15 per cent had been threatened by a pupil’s parents.

Chris Keats, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: “It’s deeply worrying to see that the abuse of teachers has risen by such a huge margin this year.

“Equally concerning is that it appears more parents are the perpetrators of abuse.

“The vile, insulting and personal comments are taking a toll on teachers’ health and wellbeing and undermining their confidence to do their job.

“Many teachers tell us that they suspect they are being abused online but dare not look, for fear they could never walk into school again to face their abusers.”

Ms Exton agreed and said: “It has a huge impact on self-esteem.

“If a student takes a picture at a bad angle, or takes a photograph in a completely innocent situation and adds a caption to make it look like something it’s not, it becomes very, very difficult.”

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